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Herman Miller skrev:
 > I guess hooks would be another possibility, especially
 > when combined with accents for stress (e.g. į į́ ę
 > ę́ ą ą́). One problem with umlauts is combining them
 > with accents (except for ǘ which is used in Pinyin).

Yes, in such a case subscript diacritics are preferable. I
was going to write that the only things the hook was ever
used for is to indicate openness/laxness or nasalization,
but it turns out that the Standard Alphabet by Lepsius
(Wikipedia <http://tinyurl.com/2x8ot2>). The reason I looked
up the Lepsius alphabet was that I remembered that it placed
the umlaut for rounded front vowels below the letters in
order to leave the space above free for length marks. So
following Lepsius' system you'd get:

|  Front: i e a̤ o̤ ṳ
|  Back:  į ę a o u

Unfortunately you'd have to use combining diacritics most of
the time. There is U+1DC4 COMBINING MACRON-ACUTE which might
be used in combination with these for long stressed vowels.

A word of warning: in MediaWiki you must always put a zero-
width joiner character &zwj; between a precomposed i with a
superscript diacritic and a combining subscript diacritic,
or the engine will 'normalize' it into a dotted i
precomposed with a subscript diacritic and a combining
superscript diacritic, which of course means that with most
fonts you get the dot of the i disturbing the superscript
diacritic! So you should write e.g. ī&zwj;̣-- i.e.
&#x012B;&zwj;&#x0323; -- to get the right thing.

You would like to use precomposed superscripts and combining
subscripts also to optimize display with capitals.

 > Of course, I'd still have the diphthong issues (įę,
 > ęį, ąį).

Actually it is not much of an issue IMO, but I see no reason
why you can't use IPA characters:

|  Front: i e æ ø y
|  Back:  ɯ ə a o u

which BTW all have corresponding capitals Æ Ø Ɯ Ǝ.
Although Ǝ seems to properly be the capital of ɘ I much
prefer it to Ə. It is not altogether satisfying IMHO to
have ɯ and w in the same orthography (which one is 'double
u'?), but the problem with Ɨɨ is that there's no dotless
ɨ to use with diacritics. You might use U+1D7B LATIN SMALL
CAPITAL LETTER I WITH STROKE at a pinch.

There'd still be the issue of combining diacritics though.

 >
 > So I guess I'm back to "i e ä y ö u o a" unless I come
 > up with something better ... and yogh for [j\] ~ [G]. For
 > adding stress/length to ä and ö, I could use the
 > Hungarian accent for ö (ő), but a̋ may not appear as
 > intended. Currently I'm using tilde (ã õ).

That looks kludgy to me. Too bad you can't rely on smart
fonts like Charis SIL and corresponding smart apps to get
proper diacritic stacking! I'd use subscript dot and umlaut
or IPA letters as described above, pace
<http://wiki.frath.net/User:Melroch/Accents>. The question
is whether you should put the umlaut/dot above the letter
when there's no other superscript, so that the dot/umlaut
will be sometimes above and sometimes below. I wouldn't.

It just strikes me that you can use something similar to the
system for length and stress marking used in some Swedish
dictionaries and educational material:

| short unstressed:   ö   (no subscript)
| short stressed:     ọ̈  (dot below)
| long stressed:      ö̱  (macron below)

The snag is that in Swedish length can occur only combined
with (primary or secondary) stress. If you need a system
without that limitation you may perhaps use

| short unstressed:   ö
| short stressed:     ö̯  (inverted breve)
| long unstressed:    ọ̈
| long stressed:      ö̱

Somehow it actually appeals more to me to use the
Americanist system with umlaut for 'reversed backfrontness'
and subscripts for length/stress. Probably because I
encountered it in fourth grade!

An alternative might be to use the IPA stress mark, perhaps
placed directly *after* the stressed vowel

| short unstressed:   ö
| short stressed:     öˈ
| long unstressed:    ö̱
| long stressed:      ö̱ˈ

Graphically I'd prefer a slightly slanting line like a
prime. (Which for some reason is lacking in DejaVu Serif!)
It may then alternate with superscript acute on vowels
without umlaut. That presupposes you don't use prime or
apostrophe for something else.

Is it only I, BTW, who likes the idea of ẅ for [H] and ẇ
for [u\_^]?

/BP 8^)>
--
Benct Philip Jonsson -- melroch atte melroch dotte se
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
   "C'est en vain que nos Josués littéraires crient
   à la langue de s'arrêter; les langues ni le soleil
   ne s'arrêtent plus. Le jour où elles se *fixent*,
   c'est qu'elles meurent."           (Victor Hugo)